The Aston Martin Vantage debuted in 2005, but a steady stream of new engines, gearboxes and special variants – coupled with its timeless exterior design – has kept it looking fresh. Now, the smallest Aston has been treated to a performance overhaul from its new AMR department. Along with its more powerful engine options, the Vantage AMR gets a unique look and race-inspired goodies.

Having launched the AMR badge in Shanghai, Aston Martin has revealed the two "distinct tiers" of car it will create. Along with limited-run models like the Vantage you see here, the badge will also be applied to ultra-exclusive AMR Pro models for particularly exacting customers. The Vantage AMR Pro Concept – launched at the Geneva Show, and pictured in our gallery with a giant wing on the back – is the first example.

But what actually makes the new Vantage special? Well, the changes start under the hood. Although the V8 engined model makes a standard 430 hp (321 kW), the V12 AMR has been boosted from 565 hp to 595 hp (421 kW to 444 kW) here. There's an optional titanium exhaust, too, for more noise and a handy 31 lb (14 kg) weight saving. Both engines come as standard with a six-speed paddleshift gearbox, but a six-speed stick will be offered in the V8, and a seven-speed manual can be specced on the V12.

While we're talking weight saving, a range of carbon fiber aero add-ons have been added to the options list for more downforce. Along with a new front splitter and dive planes, a set of side sills and a fixed rear spoiler are available. A set of forged aluminum wheels are also available, and will be unique to AMR models. Although it's still the same Vantage as before, the additional aerodynamics pieces add a touch more racing drama.

There are four different color combinations on offer: white and orange, black and blue, blue with red or silver with grey. The optional Halo Pack adds green highlights to the car, inspired by the finish on the #95 Vantage GTE that won its class in the World Endurance Championship last year. It isn't particularly subtle, but standing out is the goal here.

Inside, the Vantage AMR has been kitted out with a combination of leather and Alcantara, while roadsters get a leather-only finish. Each car will get an interior trimmed to match the exterior paintwork. A set of lightweight carbon fiber bucket seats is on the options list, too.

"It's a real thrill to see our first AMR model go into production," says Aston Martin CEO and President, Andy Palmer. "Unmistakable in look and feel the Vantage AMR will appeal to our most enthusiastic customers. These are people who love our cars for their motorsport pedigree, and for their unmistakable dynamic and emotional qualities. Limited production numbers will undoubtedly make them extremely collectible, but they're so good to drive."

The Vantage AMR will be available as a V8 or V12, and comes in Coupe and Roadster form. Prices will start £97,995 (US$124,924) in the UK, and deliveries will begin in Q4 this year. Just 300 examples will be built – 200 V8s and 100 V12s.

Source: Aston Martin

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